blueollie

Japanese fighter pilots, Buffett’s mobile homes, desired failure and welfare steaks…

Workout notes
Weight in the morning: 185 (after breakfast).
Now I went to the Riverplex and ran to Wodruff (via the goose loop), 1 mile 7:51 (3:57 for 809, 3:54 for second 800), 3/4 mile walk, 9:22 mile in lane 2. (about a 9:14 mile), then 2.2 miles back for 7 miles total.
Very humbling; though the mile wasn’t all out, it was hard and I put forth quite a bit of effort.

Then to the weight room:
pull ups (5 sets of 10, rotator cuff)
military presses (10 x 85 standing, 8 x 85, 10 x 180 seated, machine).
incline presses: 2 x 135, 10 x 115 (different angle)

This was about 30 minutes worth.

That was humbling. Was it only 15 years ago that I ran a half marathon at 7:17 per mile? Now ONE sub 8 minute mile is difficult. I want to scream “what am I doing wrong?
The idea that I am merely slowing the rate of decline instead of improving is still tough to adjust to.

Posts

Well, Warren Buffett is one of those “favorite billionaires”. But he is still a billionaire and how does one become one? Of course, I don’t know how involved he is with the details of this operation and I don’t have a balanced view. And, well, no easy way to say it…I am not exactly a fan of those hurt by these policies. But people don’t deserve to be mistreated and cheated (even if legally cheated), even if I might not like them.

SNAP Yes, I approve of this program, knowing that here and there, a slacker might be taking advantage. So on this debate:

n 2013, Fox News proudly broadcast an interview with a young food stamp recipient who claimed to be using the government benefit to purchase lobster and sushi.

“This is the way I want to live and I don’t really see anything changing,” Jason Greenslate explained to Fox. “It’s free food; it’s awesome.”

That story fit a longtime conservative suspicion that poor people use food stamps to purchase luxury items. Now, a Republican state lawmaker in Missouri is pushing for legislation that would stop people like Greenslate and severely limit what food stamp recipients can buy. The bill being proposed would ban the purchase with food stamps of “cookies, chips, energy drinks, soft drinks, seafood or steak.”

“The intention of the bill is to get the food stamp program back to its original intent, which is nutrition assistance,” said Rick Brattin, the representative who is sponsoring the proposed legislation. […}

On one hand, yes, SNAP is to help people out with the basics and, no I don’t want to see it used for luxury items. But, on the other hand: how often does that happen? Do you see poor people buying caviar?
Seriously, saying “I was this a couple of times” doesn’t justify changing the law; I’d like to see some data as to how often it is abused prior to seeing the time and effort being put toward a change in the law.

More Republicans: evidently, some are actually upset that Ben Bernanke took steps to prevent a failure that they predicted:

Ah: I see that there was a Twitter exchange among Brad DeLong, James Pethokoukis, and others over why Republicans don’t acknowledge that Ben Bernanke helped the economy, and claim credit. Pethokoukis — who presumably gets to talk to quite a few Republicans from his perch at AEI — offers a fairly amazing explanation:

B/c many view BB as enabling Obama’s spending and artificially propping up debt-heavy economy in need of Mellon-esque liquidation

Yep: that dastardly Bernanke was preventing us from having a financial crisis, curse him.

Actually, there’s a lot of evidence that this was an important part of the story. As I pointed out a couple of months ago, Paul Ryan and John Taylor went all-out conspiracy theory on the Bernanke Fed, claiming that its efforts were not about trying to fulfill its mandate, but rather that

This looks an awful lot like an attempt to bail out fiscal policy, and such attempts call the Fed’s independence into question.

Basically, leading Republicans didn’t just expect a disaster, they wanted one — and they were furious at Bernanke for, as they saw it, heading off the crisis they hoped to see. It’s a pretty awesome position to take. But it makes a lot of sense when you consider where these people were coming from.

Krugman goes on to say that this doesn’t exactly instill confidence that the Republicans will do what is best for the country, with regards to the proposed Iran deal.

War
A former Japanese fighter pilot recalls the hell of war and explains why he never wants to see it again:

“Nothing is as terrifying as war,” he began, before spending the next 90 minutes recounting his role in battles, from Japan’s early triumph at Pearl Harbor to its disastrous reversals at Midway and Guadalcanal. “I want to tell you my experiences in war so that younger generations don’t have to go through the same horrors that I did.”

[…]

In an interview after his speech, Mr. Harada described himself as “the last Zero fighter,” or at least the last pilot still alive who flew during that aircraft’s glory days early in the war with the United States. He recounted how in dogfights, he flew close enough to his opponents to see the terror on their faces as he sent them crashing to their deaths.

“I fought the war from the cockpit of a Zero, and can still remember the faces of those I killed,” said Mr. Harada, who said he was able to meet and befriend some of his foes who survived the war. “They were fathers and sons, too. I didn’t hate them or even know them.”

“That is how war robs you of your humanity,” he added, “by putting you in a situation where you must either kill perfect strangers or be killed by them.”

This is a very powerful article about someone who has been there.

Science Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg lists his “best 13 science books” for the layperson; I have read one of these and much (most?) of two others.

April 4, 2015 Posted by | politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans politics, running, social/political, time trial/ race, weight training | , , , , | Leave a comment

Hills, Huckabee, Cruz and Cranks…

Workout notes: right around freezing, overcast and breezy.
1.4 mile warm up
lower loop in 10:16 (8:20 pace)
4 x lower to upper Bradley park hill, with walk/jog recoveries
10 minute jog
38 minute walk home (from the rear Park Road entrance past the dog park and Parkside)

Slight tug in the upper left hamstring early. I focused on quick steps and knee lift. Some Bradley men’s track team runners were there and did some hill reps; they blew me away (half the time), which is completely expected. Still, it is humbling to be shown, in stark terms, exactly how slow you are.

Nevertheless, I had a tempo run, hills and a walk so it was a good workout. I got some lung burn going, which is what I need.

Topics
Mike Huckabee: recounts PART of the story from I Kings, Chapter 18. This is where Elijah calls down fire from heaven to accept his sacrifice to “prove” that his god was the real god. Pity he didn’t produce a unified theory instead. :-)

Here is the part of the story that Gov. Huckabee leaves out:

36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”

38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.

39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!”

40 Then Elijah commanded them, “Seize the prophets of Baal. Don’t let anyone get away!” They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there.

This murder of people who follow a different religion kind of reminds one of…ISIS?

How any modern person can take this stuff seriously continues to baffle me.

Speaking of Charlatans: Ted Cruz is an official candidate for the 2016 GOP nomination. No, he won’t win. But in 2012, he carried Texas 56.5-40, whereas Elizabeth Warren carried Massachusetts 53.7 to 46.2. President Obama won Massachusetts 60.6 to 37.5. That is why I don’t take Senator Warren’s presidential chances seriously.

Now Texas is a southern state, and southern states have enjoyed a population influx. Some say it is the Republican policies but others point out…it may be …the weather….now that we have air conditioning to make summers tolerable. Seriously, if I could find a job with comparable salary and benefits down south, I’d move. I am tired of northern winters.

Other languages: Randazza goes after those who were outraged at the Pledge of Allegiance being said in Arabic. What many don’t know is Allah is merely the word for “God” in that language; it is the same deity that Jews and Christians worship. Personally, I skip that part anyway and say the pre-1950’s version:

Now this is NOT the original, no matter what the caption says. But it is the pre-Red Scare version:

The original is this:

“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

It was changed to the video version in 1923 and then to the current version in 1954.

March 24, 2015 Posted by | 2016, politics, politics/social, religion, republicans, republicans politics, running | , , , | Leave a comment

Train wrecks are hard to look away from….

Iowa GOP hopeful summit:

What can I say?

Speaking of train wrecks, here was my workout for the day:

lifting:
pull ups (5 sets of 10; better than last time) (hip hikes, Achilles exercises)
bench: 10 x 135, 1 x 185, 7 x 170, 5 x 170 (rotator cuff)
military: 3 sets of 10 x 40 dumbbell, standing. (rotator cuff)
super set: 3 sets of 10 of pull downs and rows (pull downs: 10 x 150, rows: 10 x 90) done with the other machines.

running:
2 miles on the treadmill in 21:05 (every 4 minutes, increase 0.1 mph, starting at 5.5)
track: Deek 5K in 28:27 (3 miles in 27:27); middle lane, 8:43, 9:17, 9:26. slow death. 1 lap walk.
treadmill: 1 mile in 10:30
Total: 10K (actually, 6.25 miles)

Note: I saw one of the university XC women doing her steady state run (1 hour?) 9.2 mph was her “steady state pace”. We both run for an hour; she get 15K, I get 10K. That was humbling to say the least.

January 27, 2015 Posted by | republicans, republicans politics, running, sarah palin, weight training | | Leave a comment

GOP irritation over impeachment talk

John Boehner appears irritated that President Obama’s staff is using “impeachment” as a fundraising and “get out the vote” tool for 2014. Yes, he said that impeachment is NOT being planned.

But

1) Several in his own caucus have openly talked about it.
2) Republican leaders have talked about it, openly.
3) The rank and file Republicans favor it.
4) Boehner has not been able to control his caucus.

More here.

Yes, it takes 67 votes in the Senate to actually remove the President and that isn’t going to happen, even if the Republicans throw themselves on the floor and turn blue.

July 29, 2014 Posted by | politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans politics | , | Leave a comment

Conservative Cranks

Paul Krugman:

James Pethokoukis and Ramesh Ponnuru are frustrated. They’ve been trying to convert Republicans to market monetarism, but the right’s favorite intellectuals keep turning to cranks peddling conspiracy theories about inflation. Three years ago it was Niall Ferguson, citing a bogus source. Ferguson was widely ridiculed, by moderate conservatives as well as liberals — but here comes Amity Shlaes, making the same argument and citing the same source. The “reform conservatives” have made no headway at all.

Why this lack of progress?

The answer is that inflation paranoia isn’t a simple misunderstanding that can be corrected by pointing to evidence. It’s deeply embedded in the modern conservative psyche. Government action must, by definition, have disastrous results;

That’s pretty much it: conservatives have some core principles…sort of “nothing can shake my faith in…” types of things. Reams of evidence will not change their minds; they are extremely vulnerable to Type II error (failure to reject a false hypothesis).

The same holds for the Affordable Care Act; here Matthew Yglesias gives an “I told you so” …and he KNEW that he’d get ridiculed for his initial prediction.

Or there was the infamous 2012 election in which those conservatives weren’t going to BELIEVE that “scientific gobbledygook”: (30 seconds)

OR

Note: the conservatives were getting taunted PRIOR to the election; this wasn’t mere hindsight:

Remember how Rove and others were supposed to raise vast sums from billionaires and corporations, then totally saturate the country with GOP messaging, drowning out Obama’s message? Well, they certainly raised a lot of money, and ran a lot of ads. But in terms of actual number of ads the battle has been, if anything, an Obama advantage. And while we don’t know what will happen on Tuesday, state-level polls suggest both that Obama is a strong favorite and, much more surprising, that Democrats are overwhelmingly favored to hold the Senate in a year when the number of seats at risk was supposed to spell doom.

Some of this reflects the simple fact that money can’t help all that much when you have a lousy message. But it also looks as if the money was surprisingly badly spent. What happened?

Well, what if we’ve been misunderstanding Rove? We’ve been seeing him as a man dedicated to helping angry right-wing billionaires take over America. But maybe he’s best thought of instead as an entrepreneur in the business of selling his services to angry right-wing billionaires, who believe that he can help them take over America. It’s not the same thing.

Consistently being wrong seems to bother them not at all:

So, there was a fun moment on CNBC: Rick Santelli went on a rant about inflation and the Fed, and CNBC analyst Steve Liesman went medieval on him:

It’s impossible for you to have been more wrong, Rick. Your call for inflation, the destruction of the dollar, the failure of the US economy to rebound. Rick, it’s impossible for you to have been more wrong. Every single bit of advice you gave would have lost people money, Rick. Lost people money, Rick. Every single bit of advice. There is no piece of advice that you’ve given that’s worked, Rick. There is no piece of advice that you’ve given that’s worked, Rick. Not a single one. Not a single one, Rick. The higher interest rates never came, the inability of the U.S. to sell bonds never happened, the dollar never crashed, Rick. There isn’t a single one that’s worked for you.

Yet this screaming tea party type got applause.

Accuracy means NOTHING to these people. Nothing.

July 17, 2014 Posted by | politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans politics | | Leave a comment

I wish that they would make up their minds….

whatisitgoingtobewingnuts

July 14, 2014 Posted by | politics/social, republicans, republicans politics | | Leave a comment

July 6 Politics

Well, I’ve been reading about how Americans view President Obama as being terrible. You probably won’t see news on the recent uptick in approval ratings though this rates as a “meh” when you look at the trendlines that Presidents have had historically:

Screen shot 2014-07-06 at 4.52.55 PM

(from here)

Love him or hate him: the worst ever: he isn’t.

I admit that back in 2012, I really thought that the country would learn something from failing to trust basic facts and statistics:

and here but I guess not. SFBs who trust “their gut” over science and math aren’t going to change. And this will cripple the next Republican Presidential nominee like it did the last one:

July 6, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, political/social, politics, republicans, republicans politics, social/political | | Leave a comment

Representation, over representation, and hunting

Welcome to my world: 70 people rally to support our clueless mayor in the “twitter scandal”. This is, in part, where Peoria’s reputation as being a dim-witted backwater comes from.

But alas, the mayor may well be the product of a “representative democracy”. Our Congress is not: Republicans are overrepresented in Congress. Though I’d love to blame gerrymandering, some of it is just the nature of the way Congressional districts are drawn up. People attempt to put some geographic representation into the mix, and it is possible for a large state to have distinct, rural areas that are relatively lightly populated. Then you have the Senate in which a state like Wyoming has the same representation as as state like New York or California.

Hunting
Here is a product of all that overrepresentation: the phony “IRS scandal”. How one does it: investigate, find nothing, ask for more documents, get them, find nothing, then keep looking until you find something missing. In this case: what is missing is old e-mail messages which were erased (NOT tax-payer data).

Then see the charge of clueless pundits (the same ones who said that the 2012 Presidential election would be close) screaming about “lawlessness” …though in this case, the IRS was following standard procedure.

Uplifting Hunting
Time elapse photographs from the Hubble shows galaxies…and galaxies….and galaxies in a very small, average patch of space.

June 25, 2014 Posted by | Peoria, Peoria/local, politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans politics, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Eric Cantor’s upset loss

Wow. Eric Cantor, House Majority leader, just lost in the Republican primary to an underfunded Tea Party challenger.

This is the message I try to tell my liberal friends: we might think that the reactionary conservatives in the House (and some in the Senate) are babbling idiots. Ok; many are. But they don’t care that they look foolish to us. Their concern is getting reelected in their own districts and there, the primary challenge comes FROM THE RIGHT. My favorite Horsey cartoon really isn’t that far off:

Gridlock in Washington will only get worse and not better. I really don’t see a way out unless things get so bad, we embrace a new “New Deal” or perhaps Theodore Roosevelt type reforms.

June 11, 2014 Posted by | 2014 midterm, political/social, republicans, republicans politics, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

Krugman warms up to Obama

In the 2008 primaries, Paul Krugman backed Hillary Clinton. Later, he frequently attacked President Obama for being too timid as far as seeking stimulus and trying too hard to follow the “very serious people”.

But he is warming up to President Obama and is saying so:

He was supposed to be serious in the approved way, slashing entitlements to deal with the fiscal crisis. The fact that there wasn’t actually a fiscal crisis, and that anyone who really cares about the long run should worry a lot more about carbon emissions than about the Medicare age, doesn’t change the bias; strong presidents are supposed to use that strength on behalf of the elite’s pet obsessions, not other stuff.

Another part of the answer is that Obama does, indeed, have a weak approval rating. But as Jonathan Chait points out, he had a weak rating going into the 2012 campaign too; what mattered was that while voters weren’t enthralled with him, elections are zero-sum, and voters really disliked the Republican agenda.

Actually, I suspect that we won’t see a president with sky-high ratings for a long time, no matter how successful he or she is. America is bitterly polarized, and Republicans in particular will despise any Democrat no matter how much peace and prosperity he or she brings. But a Democrat who has the approval of 40 percent of voters and can attract another 12 or 13 percent who dislike her but dislike Republicans even more can win big, and that’s the likely shape of the future.

Long-time readers know that I was highly critical of Obama back when many were swooning. And I wish that he and his circle had done more on a number of fronts in 2009-2010. But right now he’s doing what presidents are supposed to do: change the country significantly for the better.

Part of the reason is that President Obama appears to realize (finally) that the Republicans have zero interest in governing at this point in time but instead are doing their best to obstruct. For them: it is all about politics, especially at the local level.

It doesn’t matter that the House Republicans look like idiots to the rest of the country; they are popular among their own constituencies and that is what counts at the House level.

June 10, 2014 Posted by | politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans politics | , | Leave a comment

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 671 other followers